Geography-Earth Science Minor

The Geography-Earth Science Minor is highly customizable to student interests and involves learning about core concepts from the natural sciences (i.e. the geographic and geologic study of land, sea, air, soil, rocks, water and the processes that shape them) as well as the social sciences (the study of humans and their interactions with each other and with the Earth).

What Will I Learn?

In this minor, students learn that the geoenvironmental field is diverse, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. The minor helps students learn to develop a working knowledge of geography and earth science disciplines and helps them learn basic skills needed to be critical thinkers and effective problem-solvers in natural/social science-centered careers.

What are the requirements for this degree?

The minor requires 7 courses (21 credits) to be selected from a wide variety of options at introductory to advanced levels, which through advising can be customized according to student interests. Fortunately, the program has been designed to be flexible and in some cases there are opportunities for students to double count courses in their major and minor. Students should plan to meet with a faculty advisor in the department each semester in order to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the minor.

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Students interested in this minor will often major in biology, history, physics or chemistry, especially if they are interested in earning a more advanced degree. Still, others may have majors in business, computer science, engineering or international studies.

What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?

With a geography-earth science minor added to any other degree program, students will have exciting opportunities in and out of the geosciences. Most geographers and earth scientists typically work in one of five basic career sectors:

  • private business (i.e. for geologic/hydrologic/environmental consulting and engineering firms)
  • government agencies (from local to international)
  • research and education
  • land use and civil planning
  • non-profit organizations (i.e. as cartographers, computer/GIS analysts, geologists, educators, environmental scientists, remote sensing specialists, water resource managers)

With population growth, aging infrastructure, current and emerging environmental issues, natural resource concerns, etc., there is an excellent outlook for career growth in the diverse fields we service.

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have on Campus?

You should expect a student-focused learning experience that encourages you to become an active learner both in the classroom and through co-curricular activities. Students are encouraged to select course work that includes learning in the field whether at the Burd Run watershed living laboratory, in the Cumberland Valley and South Mountain region, at the mid-Atlantic seaboard at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station or even internationally in places like Chile, Curacao, China and more. Students in the minor may also take advantage of opportunities to participate in faculty-student research which may also take place through the department's Center for Land Use and Sustainability. Moreover, you should expect that you will take advantage of numerous networking opportunities such as at our annual career day, by becoming a member of the Green League student organization or Gamma Theta Upsilon, our disciplinary national honor society.